Be the hero


How many of you HME providers find yourselves interacting more with caregivers than the actual users of your equipment and services? Do you know what these caregivers, who aren’t growing in numbers fast enough, need most?

That’s what I was thinking about as I was reading AARP’s recently released report “Caregiving Innovation Frontiers: A universal need, a growing opportunity—leveraging technology to transform the future.”

Here’s how AARP sets the stage for its report, which it put together with help from Park Associates: It says there were 40 million Americans in 2014 providing unpaid care to people who are older, disabled or otherwise in need of assistance. By 2020, the number of caregivers will only increase to 45 million, but the number of people expected to need assistance will balloon to 117 million.

How do we bridge that gap? Technology, AARP and Park Associates argue. They see six “areas of opportunity” for technology to help caregivers do their jobs.

The area that has the most to do with our little neck of the healthcare world: health and safety awareness. AARP and Park Associates define this area as health vital alerts, diet and nutrition, medication management, personal safety monitoring and telehealth.

Do you currently use/do business in any of these areas? You might want to look into it, if you don’t.

AARP and Park Associates forecast that caregiver out-of-pocket spending on health and safety awareness technology will hit $4.3 billion by 2020. The total market, including out-of-pocket spending plus reimbursement from private and public insurers and business-to-business spending, will hit $20.3 billion.

I don’t have to tell you that’s a good chunk of change.

The beauty of this opportunity: There doesn’t appear to be anyone who has quite laid claim to it. There are technology vendors that sell direct to consumers, but that are realizing they might be better off with a dealer channel. There are security companies that are already in the home and think it makes sense for them to enter the market, but they’re wondering how many synergies there are between what they do and home care.

In other words, there’s plenty of opportunity for a motivated and determined HME provider to be the hero for the caregivers who sorely need help doing their jobs.

I leave you with this:

#1 How often do you consider the caregiver as a target market for your equipment and services?

#2 Do you offer the technologies they need to help them do their jobs?

We’ll be hosting the Home Health Technology Summit in New Orleans in March to introduce HME providers and other homecare providers to technologies that can help them reduce costs, improve care and generate revenues for their businesses today. I urge you to consider it.